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Vietnam Today

Second forum on Laos' Pak Beng Hydropower Plant opens

Released at: 17:57, 06/05/2017

Second forum on Laos' Pak Beng Hydropower Plant opens

MRC Chief Executive Officer Pham Tuan Phan (R) speaks at the event (Source: VNA)

Concerns raised over cross-border impacts of project upstream and downstream on Mekong River.

by Uy Vu

The second Regional Stakeholder Forum on the Pak Beng Hydropower Plant opened in Vientiane, Laos, on May 5, according to a report from a Vientiane-based correspondent of the Vietnam News Agency.

CEO of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Pham Tuan Phan and government officials from the four MRC countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam attended the event, together with representatives from international organizations and non-government organizations.

Delegates discussed issues and ideas raised in the first forum, which was held in Luang Prabang, Laos, in late February.

The preliminary results of a technical assessment of a project conducted by the MRC Secretariat were also announced at the forum.

On the same day, a national-level consultation on the hydropower plant was held in Hanoi.

Participants expressed concern over the cross-border impacts of the project, especially on aquaculture and alluvium and the livelihoods of people in the upper and lower Mekong River regions.

They emphasized the need for scientific evidence on the efficiency of solutions relating to fish migration carried out by investors, as well as preventive measures in case of dyke breaks or floods.

Ideas collected at the meeting and via other channels will be sent to the MRC and the Vietnam National Mekong Committee. 

Members of the MRC are scheduled to contribute their opinions on the Pak Beng project to the Lao Government through the MRC in June.

In Pak Beng district in the northern Lao province of Oudomsay, the Pak Beng hydropower plant has a designed capacity of 912 MW and an average annual generation output of 4.775 GWh per year. It is the third plant on the Mekong River mainstream, after Sayabouly and Don Sahong.

In November 2016, the Lao government submitted a detailed description of Pak Beng to the MRC Secretariat to seek approval for the six-month consultation process, which started on December 20, 2016.

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